“If you need any more help, my name’s Maureen. You can find me around here. Good luck moving in!” Maureen Mota, a tall woman with a big smile, strides out of a soon-to-be resident’s room in Shafer Hall, looking for other students moving in who need help adjusting their bed height. A few floors below, amidst the students and parents shuffling in the elevator carrying twenty-gallon storage bins and various pieces of furniture, a shorter but equally strong woman is quietly tidying up the common room. Paula Glorioso is fluffing the couch cushions and arranging them to present Shafer Hall at its best. Parents stop and peer inside at the beautiful room.
Mota and Glorioso are longtime friends and also the custodians of Shafer Hall. Their daily routine begins at 6 a.m., as they take out the trash, check the bathrooms and resolve any issues that have occurred overnight. Glorioso tends to the ground, first and second floors while Mota works on the third, fourth and fifth. They have both seen many classes of students come and go. Mota joined Wellesley College in 1987 after having waitressed for 15 years in the MetroWest area, while Glorioso applied to work at Wellesley in 1996 after her previous workplace closed.
Though Glorioso has worked at Wellesley for less time than Mota, she is no stranger to the College and fondly remembers playing around the campus as a child.
“[As a child], I used to play in the Italian Gardens and go to the boat dock and come over to the college. My friend’s mother worked here at the Davis Museum. We used to swim over [Lake Waban] and take a sailboat out,” Glorioso recalled.
Mota and Glorioso have both worked in other parts of Wellesley College before settling in Shafer Hall. Glorioso worked as a dining room attendant for three years in Tower Court and then for 10 years in the kitchen of Cazenove Hall. Mota started in Tower Court as a custodian before moving to Pomeroy and then spending 15 years in Bates Hall. “Then I came to Shafer, where I love,” Mota recounted. “I’ve been here about 10 years.” Mota and Glorioso fondly refer to the Quad as a “community within a community.”
Along with their routine work, Mota and Glorioso often have to take care of overflowing toilets, bulky unbroken boxes that have been incorrectly discarded and trash cans heavy with undrained bottles of soda. Consequently, the trash cans are filled up more quickly and other trash is left on the floor.
“[Some] people don’t think about the person behind them. We understand the college experience, but it’s common courtesy for the people around you when you’re living with 100 other people. Have respect for each other and the custodians. We’re here to make your lives easier but we’re not your mother,” said Mota, kindly.
For those who are confused as to where to take their trash, Mota and Glorioso have printed and posted several signs around the Hall regarding where to dispose garbage and how to keep other facilities in good shape, such as keeping the shower curtain closed to prevent overflow.
Despite these recurring issues, Mota and Glorioso are very happy to be here and spend more hours at Wellesley than they do at home.
“There’s always going to be problems when you have so many people in one space but on the whole we have a nice little house here,” said Glorioso, smiling.
“Yeah we do!” Mota jumped in. “We consider this place family. We try to keep it clean.” In the years since coming to Wellesley, Mota and Glorioso have had memorable experiences. Mota still keeps in touch with students who used to live in Pomeroy when she worked there some 20 years ago, sending them Easter and Christmas cards.
“I do like my relationships that I make with my students. Some of them are very, very special to me,” said Mota.
With their hard work and cheerful demeanors, students feel that Mota and Glorioso have become essential to the Shafer Hall community. Several residents of Shafer Hall mentioned that the two create an air of calm for busy, worried students and cited homemade exam treats and encouraging notes that Mota and Glorioso left on whiteboards in the building .
“I have so many wonderful things to say about Maureen. She’s such a ray of sunshine to the fifth floor. She writes cheerful notes in her beautiful handwriting on our whiteboard to wish us good luck with midterms or to have a safe and happy spring break. She always greets students in the morning with ‘How are you, beautiful?’ and she sings as she works. She is the best, and Shafer is so lucky to have her!” said Emily Van Laarhoven ’17.
“A seemingly tedious job, Paula cleans our home as if it were her own. She asks us for so little and is a constant positive presence in my life,” said Maddie Haughton ’19, resident assistant of Shafer Hall. “I have never seen anyone maintain the same level of personal commitment to maintaining the community as Paula or Maureen. They are a powerful team.”
Haughton continued on to add, “Life at Wellesley can be incredibly grueling, but my residents and I are always comfortable in Shafer because it is reliably safe and clean, thanks to Paula and Maureen.”